Pad+ma skyabs. 2013. The Price of a Thesis. Asian Highlands Perspectives 28:263-267.
"Ring...ring..." bleated a mobile phone, waking Lha mo, a student in the Tibetan Department at a well-known nationalities university. She raised her head languidly and looked around the dorm room. Her roommates were applying various cosmetics and lotions to their faces, getting ready for class. The warm sun heated her bed. She slowly turned her head to the right and gazed at a small picture of a young Chinese movie star pasted on the wall by her bed. He was wearing a shirt that exposed his skin, which seemed as white as flour smeared on a cutting board beneath a ball of dough. Nearby was a panda doll wearing a suit of red clothes that made it resemble a sleeping guard. She was suddenly overwhelmed by nostalgia.
Lha mo came from an area where Tibetan was rarely taught. Sometimes she hated herself for being Tibetan. Lha mo would soon leave school and was required to write a thesis. Because her written Tibetan was very poor, she resolved to use Chinese, and spent two weeks writing a few lines in her notebook. What she wrote had many grammar mistakes and she quickly and angrily ripped the pages into pieces. She agonized about her situation and didn't know what to do. Then she heard the good news that a thesis could be purchased in Room 304, East Second Street. The problem was that it cost 2,000 yuan, which was far too expensive for her. She only received 1,000 yuan a month from her family, half of which was for food and the other half went to meet the cost of clothes and other expenses. She just didn't have the money to buy the thesis...